Monday, October 27, 2014

Chucky Week: 'Child's Play 2' (1990)

By the second movie in the series, Chucky is already well on his way to becoming the beloved comedic figure he is today. Although Child's Play 2 is a direct follow-up to the first Child's Play, with Alex Vincent returning as hapless victim Andy Barclay, it doesn't have the option of replicating the first film's slow-burn approach, since viewers already know that Chucky is possessed and evil. The movie starts out with a wonderfully detailed sequence of the Chucky doll being reconstructed at the Play Pals toy factory, ostensibly as a PR move to counter the bad publicity surrounding the events of the first movie (when the doll, y'know, murdered some people), but of course really just as the movie's excuse to get Chucky fully functional again, the equivalent of Jason Voorhees rising from his grave for the latest time.

Naturally, Chucky responds to his resurrection by immediately killing the people who brought him back to life, and resuming his quest to possess poor Andy. Andy's now living with a foster family after his mother has been shipped off to the loony bin, which is the now-standard fate for protagonists in horror-movie sequels (also, producers didn't want to pay actress Catherine Hicks to return as Andy's mom). Also typical for horror sequels, everyone around Andy is trying to convince him that Chucky was nothing but a figment of his imagination, and that works really well until Chucky manages to sneak in the house and replace the harmless, non-possessed Good Guys doll already lying around.

Luckily this time Andy has an ally in his foster sister Kyle (Christine Elise), and they team up to take Chucky down. Chucky is a lot more mobile this time, killing people in more gruesome and inventive ways, and the finale takes place in the grotesque funhouse of the Play Pals factory, with plenty of opportunities for dangerous machinery to wreak havoc. Very little of it is scary, but it is a lot of fun, with the sense of morbid humor that the series would end up embracing. Chucky's menace may be waning, but his unique personality is just starting to come into focus.

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